Touring Cabalbio in SW Tuscany

Trip Start Jun 07, 2010
Trip End Jun 13, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Monday, June 7, 2010

T suggested we visit Capalbio and it was a great little town to start our exploring. It has a medieval town plan, with narrow, curved streets climbing to the top of the hill dominated by the Rocca Aldobrandesca.. the Fortress.. dating back to the 15th Century. Although it was not open when we were there, apparently inside is an ancient Giacomo Puccini piano.

Capalbio is completely enclosed within a double set of ancient walls, rebuilt by the Sienese to defend their centre, much of which can be walked along.  The historical centre can be reached through two entrances: the first is the Porta Senese which still preserves its 15th-century wooden shutters and locks. A marble inscription on the gate commemorates the 1416 restoration of the walls by the Sienese.  The other entrance is called Porticina (the small gate).  Or,  there is the third option that we took.. i.e., after the upper ancient wall we were walking along seemed to dead end, what else could we do but hop over it..  through someone's terrace I think it was..   definitely not a preferred option but no italian nonna (grandmother) came after us so it was all good!.    We did depart more respectfully through Porta Senese!

In the main square,  at the foot of the Rocca, you'll find the Church of Saint Nicola from the 12th-13th centuries, decorated with Romanesque capitals and Renaissance frescoes inside, and a simple facade with a portal topped by an inscription commemorating the enlargement and restoration of the church in 1466 (for those history buffs)

Today Capalbio is a charming medieval town, very lively in the summer time in particular I'm told.  Capalbio is also renowned for the interesting Garden of Tarot, located a few kilometers from the ancient center. The garden is famous for the large sculptures created by the French artist Niki de Sante Phalle depicting the 22 major Arcanes of the tarot cards. 

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